This project has been started in october 2010 and its purpose is to build a full autonomous Thermal Hunter Glider which is able to fly for a long duration in an area defined by a radius, a ceiling and a minimal altitude. The glider uses thermal soaring and dynamic soaring methods commonly used by full scale gliders during cross country soaring competitions.
During a full autonomous flight defined by a flight plan, the glider is able to optimize itself the onboard power using the energy gained by the updrafts during its thermal hunting process. For safety reasons, the glider can use its electrical engine to sustain the minimal altitude required.In the video, you will see some samples of the test flights during the phase 2 of the Thermopilot project. The glider is fully stabilized by the Thermopilot software.
During the Phase 2 of the project, the firmware has been tested in flight with an ArduPilot/ArduIMU board (firmware ThermoPilot v2.9.x JLN version). The ThermoPilot (phase 3) will use an ArduPilot MEGA 2560 and a bigger glider. The setup has been successfully tested on the MAJA drone in May 2011. The ThermoPilot will be able to learn and optimize itself the thermal upwards areas during its thermal hunting...
The ThermoPilot firmware has been tested in High Mountains in July 2011 (Savoie, French Alps): Ridge Soaring tests flights done in high wind conditions.
It has also been tested in the fields in August 2011 (Auvergne, France): Thermal Soaring tests flights in various weather conditions.
More infos at: diydrones.com/profile/JeanLouisNaudin
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